Sobriety feels anti-capitalistic, which is partly why it isn’t promoted further. There’s no profit in promoting it directly and alcohol deeply supports a variety of economic sectors. Here are some of those affected industries (and personal costs saved) with sobriety:
- Alcohol: producers of wine, beer, liquor and their suppliers
- Hardware: bottles, aluminum cans, refrigeration, containers, drinkware, glassware, and cabinetry to house this equipment
- Bars, Clubs, Restaurants, Entertainment Venues: entry fees, alcohol, and service employees
- Real Estate: real estate corporations housing these bars and restaurants
- Transport: to these venues, parking, Ubers
- Food: complementary greasy foods, beverages like sodas and Gatorade, and medications such as aspirin
- Tourism: brewery and winery tours, tastings, pub-crawls, happy-hours and vacations with alcohol-centric activities
- Advertising: billboards, commercials and social media ads
- Work: missed work, opportunity costs, and lost productivity
- Healthcare: reduced chance of accidents, emergency care, long-term diseases, anxiety, mental and psychological costs
- Taxes: reduced taxes from the purchase of alcohol
Some of these industries are apparent, first-order costs but what is surprising are the affected, second-order costs and industries. It’s empowering to influence these industries with sobriety, even at an individual level. Now imagine what could be done at a collective level.
While sobriety reduces GDP (economic consumption) and taxes in the short-term, I’d argue it increases these same measures over the long-run due to improved personal health and productivity benefits. Seeing the cost-savings and minimalist benefits should add motivation and another tool to your sobriety arsenal. Without drinking, this money and energy has to go elsewhere, whether it’s reading, fitness, sleep, community service, relationships, business or more.
Sobriety is a close cousin of veganism, vegetarianism, or minimalism; done for the personal health benefits but feeling like an affront to capitalism and modern norms. By participating in sobriety you are also helping reorient our economy and society towards higher-purpose goals. Attaching higher order thinking or meaning is always helpful when taking on something as challenging as sobriety.